Pale-breasted thrush

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Pale-breasted thrush
Turdus leucomelas.jpg
Adult in São Paulo, Brazil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Turdus
Species: T. leucomelas
Binomial name
Turdus leucomelas
Vieillot, 1818

The pale-breasted thrush (Turdus leucomelas) is a species of bird in the family Turdidae.

It is found in a wide range of wooded habitats in eastern and northern South America, with localized population in the west.

This bird seems to have adapted to humans and is very common in human inhabited parts of its range, often nesting in garden shrubs and small trees. In Suriname it is locally known as "Boontjedief," which means "bean thief" in Suriname Dutch, presumably based on its habit of picking off legumes left out to dry in the sun. In proper Dutch it is called "Vaalborstlijster." It is also known as "Bonka" in Sranan tongo.

A nest with eggs in a residential garden in Domburg, Suriname

In appearance it is similar to the American robin in size and shape, but it lacks the red chest and is more uniformly brown. Its song and feeding habits are also very similar to its distant cousin. In most of its range, it is more likely to be confused with the creamy-bellied thrush. Unlike the creamy-bellied thrush, the pale-breasted thrush has a clear contrast between the head and mantle, and it lacks blackish lores.

It eats mostly fruits, but also worms, insects and lizards.


  • Birds of Suriname, François Haverschmidt, G.F.Mees, 1994 VACO N.V. P.O.Box 1841, Paramaribo, Suriname ISBN 99914-0-029-X